The U.S. Department of Justice is getting ready to hit Apple with an antitrust lawsuit due to claims that the Cupertino based company has been secretly in cahoots with publishers to raise the price of e-books in hopes of forcing Amazon to raise their e-book prices. The even more serious charge in the lawsuit is that the late Steve Jobs was scheming with publishers to raise the price of e-books in order to slow down Amazon’s rise into the tablet market. The scheming charge isn’t that far-fetched especially since two years after the release of the first iPad Amazon launched the first true competition to Apple’s tablet with the Kindle Fire.
Apple has acknowledged the accusations that it’s actions delayed Amazon from moving into the tablet market, but denies that they were intentionally trying to fight the Kindle by raising e-book prices. Apple claims that the iPad was all they needed:
… if Amazon was a “threat” that needed to be squelched by means of an illegal conspiracy, why would Apple offer Amazon’s Kindle app on the iPad? Why would Apple conclude that conspiring to force Amazon to no longer lose money on eBooks would cripple Amazon’s competitive fortunes? And why would Apple perceive the need for an illegal solution to the “Kindle threat” when it had an obvious and lawful one which it implemented – namely, introducing a multipurpose device (the iPad) whose marketing and sales success was not centered on eBook sales?
This doesn’t look to good for Apple at the moment. The U.S. Department of Justice is about to file a formal lawsuit against Apple and the publishers they have been working with. There have also been rumors floating around that the publishers included in the lawsuit may be in talks with the U.S. Justice Department to reach a settlement in return for their testimony, and evidence of the conspiracy.